Bill Plaschke Predicts a Bruin Victory in Trojan Owned L.A.

Plaschke: USC football owns Los Angeles. But UCLA will own this year’s rivalry game

UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson rushes for a TD against USC on Nov. 20, 2021, at the Coliseum. The fifth-year player will lead the Bruins to another win over their crosstown rivals Saturday, columnist Bill Plaschke predicts. (Allen J. Schaben / LAT)

 

Bill Plaschke (LA Times)  — UCLA will beat USC.

It’s crazy to predict this game, crazy to risk the outpouring of ridicule if wrong, crazy to attempt forecasting the most evenly matched crosstown rivalry duel in many years — crazy, crazy, crazy.

Doing it anyway.

Doing it because this is what UCLA does.

The Bruins have been deflated, they’re embarrassed, they blew their chance at the national playoffs with an unthinkable loss Saturday night to Arizona and …

And here comes USC, rolling along, three wins from possibly its own playoff spot, no trap losses here, only a blindingly bright future and …

And this is when UCLA knocks USC’s lights out.

John David Booty throws a pick in the final minute to UCLA’s Eric McNeal at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Dec 2, 2006.

This feels like 13-9 in 2006. This feels like John Barnes in 1992. The Bruins have no momentum, no mojo, they’re wounded, they’re cornered …

Yet right now, they’re better.

This doesn’t mean UCLA has a superior football program. It doesn’t. This doesn’t mean UCLA can win and suddenly claim city domination. It most certainly cannot.

This is not a “Westwood, Ho” prediction column from 21 years ago, portions of which are still mockingly shouted at a certain columnist as he walks down through the Coliseum seats, thank you very much.

USC has 11 national championships in football; UCLA has one. USC has seven Heisman Trophy winners; UCLA has one.

Now and maybe forever, on college football fields from Pasadena to Exposition Park, USC still owns this town.

But UCLA will own Saturday night.

Caleb Williams talks with Lincoln Riley during the Trojans’ 42-25 victory over ASU on Oct. 1. USC is 9-1 but has not beaten a ranked team this season. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

The Bruins will own it and at least temporarily suspend the belief that the Trojans’ Lincoln Riley is some sort of deity and his team of high-priced free agents can just steamroll through the neighborhood.

Riley has seemingly put the Trojans on a path toward greatness, but they’re not there yet.

The Bruins will own it and save the rejuvenated Chip Kelly from another offseason of skepticism and derision, stop everybody from wondering why he’s still here and what in the world was Martin Jarmond thinking.

There’s been no harsher criticism of Kelly than in this space, but in this fifth season he has become engaged and innovative and perhaps even inspirational.

UCLA will own Saturday because the Bruins have the best quarterback, a five-year veteran who lives for these moments, a kid who literally hurdled his way to greatness in last year’s game when his team pinned a rivalry-record 62 points on the Trojans.

Caleb Williams of USC is terrific, but UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is better.

The Bruins will own Saturday because they have a Heisman-worthy running back, a hulking and rolling rock who this season has averaged nearly eight yards every time he has touched the ball.

With USC’s Travis Dye sadly injured, UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet will have the spotlight — and the field — to himself.

The Bruins will own Saturday because their smart and suffocating offensive line has four seniors and graduate transfers who open such giant holes that the team gained 402 yards rushing against Arizona State and Charbonnet didn’t even play.

The offensive mind of Riley is unmatched, but UCLA’s offense — statistically and practically — is actually better.

The Bruins will own Saturday, finally, because their defense, unlike USC’s defense, is not the dregs of the earth.

UCLA can actually rush the passer. UCLA can even occasionally stop the run. UCLA doesn’t have the great takeaway ability of USC, and, in fact, has a pretty lousy overall defense. But USC’s defense — which surrendered 500-plus yards in consecutive games this season — is even worse.

Special teams? UCLA has an on-field coach dedicated to that important phase of the game. USC does not. Case closed.

A season that began with USC getting all the headlines — this columnist even wrote they might be the best team in this country — has morphed into a mostly memorable autumn for UCLA.

The Bruins have a fairly surprising 8-2 record with overpowering wins against then-No. 15 Washington and then-No. 11 Utah. The Trojans, meanwhile, are 9-1 but without a top-25 win.

While USC is playing for a national playoff spot, UCLA is playing for a more realistic and equally enduring prize. The Bruins can’t win the national title, but they are three wins away from playing in their first Rose Bowl in 24 years.

UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet stiff-arms UTAH LB Karene Reid during the Bruins’ 42-32 win Oct. 8. (Ashley Landis / AP)

More than anything, UCLA is playing with no fear of this talent-clogged USC team. The Bruins will not be intimidated by their more glamorous neighbors. Their culture was retrofitted with confidence after their 62-33 victory last season. They know they can do this.

“We know we’re going to replicate it,” Bruins defensive back Mo Osling III told reporters Saturday night. “We’re going to have a little bit of fire underneath our butts. Go out there and just put it on display.”

In front of an actual Rose Bowl crowd that should be making real live noise, that display will end with a glowing scoreboard that one can see here first.

UCLA 42, USC 35.

Crazy? Anything but.

yahoo.com

TrojanDailyBlog members  —  Always feel free to add information or new topics to the TDB which don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post or member comment.

 

SUBSCRIBE HERE TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF NEW COMMENTS OR REPLIES.
Notify of
25 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jamaica
Member
Diamond Member
Jamaica(@jamaica)
Offline
November 15, 2022 4:05 pm

Technically Plaschke is correct in his comparisons of the two LA teams. But USC’s defense is so suspect in its inability to stop any offense it faces. I feel in order for USC to win this game, The USC offense must play up to its own potential throughout the game. It must put on “blinders” and challenge itself to score every time it has the ball. It wouldn’t hurt if LR had a game plan to “kill the clock” in keeping procession of the ball for long periods of time. When you play an opponent who also can score points,… Read more »

USC1988
Member
Noble Member
USC1988(@usc1988)
Offline
November 15, 2022 6:07 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

It will take a sick performance from the O but without Dye and Addison not in top form, don’t count on it. Chip is licking his fat chop on this D, it will get ugly.
Hope we can hang around and get lucky at the end.

Chris
Member
Mt Rushmore
Chris(@chris)
Offline
November 15, 2022 6:24 pm
Reply to  USC1988

Not sure where you found this high opinion of the little gutties, but it’s unwarranted. Their defense is garbage and DTR is in his super senior year for a reason, he’s not good. Chip Kelly is a one trick pony who’s trick is effective but no longer revolutionary.

Bruins suck, fight on!

volunteerTrojan
Member
Knighted Member
volunteerTrojan(@volunteertrojan)
Offline
November 15, 2022 8:13 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Bobo worries me.

PN4SC
Member
Knighted Member
PN4SC(@pn4sc)
Offline
November 15, 2022 3:46 pm

I am worried about our chances this Saturday, but feel a little better that Plaschke is picking the bruins. He rarely gets these calls right, and it looks like he is seeking attention( clicks) more than he is trying to analyze a football game. And I don’t buy that DTR is better than Caleb, although DTR is having a great season. I still would prefer Caleb in my huddle.

Chris
Member
Mt Rushmore
Chris(@chris)
Offline
November 15, 2022 3:40 pm

If you are looking for a good story, jump on Amon Ra’s twitter. We all now he is an incredible receiver, he’s also a really good dude.

RialtoTrojan
Member
Knighted Member
RialtoTrojan(@rialtotrojan)
Offline
November 15, 2022 2:04 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

We arrive early for the games so we can see the band and spend too much money on Traveler merchandise. But it puts us into the stadium too early also. I have seen Gentry in uniform the past two weeks in early warmups but in street clothes for the before the game warmups. If he’s even 75% on Saturday, doubt Riley will keep him out.
One thing I have been pleased to see this year is that it’s a team and not a couple of stars plus the other guys. I don’t see us losing.

RialtoTrojan
Member
Knighted Member
RialtoTrojan(@rialtotrojan)
Offline
November 15, 2022 1:08 pm

Well the article has me wondering if Wolf is ghost writing for Plaschke. Non of what I saw Saturday night points to any reason to believe what’s written has as any merit. In fact Riley should thank the writer for such excellent locker room material.
I expect a hard fought game, but wouldn’t mind seeing a USC blowout. The one thing that worries me is the game officials. Watch for short clocks and running time. Also the refs usually have blinders on when it comes to the home team.

Chris
Member
Mt Rushmore
Chris(@chris)
Offline
November 15, 2022 11:29 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’ll bet half the seats are Cardinal and Gold. Take the other tarps down, sell out to capacity.

Last edited 2 months ago by Chris
volunteerTrojan
Member
Knighted Member
volunteerTrojan(@volunteertrojan)
Offline
November 15, 2022 6:11 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Watched that game at my inlaw’s house. Terrible feeling for the reasons you mention. It allowed the gators into the BCS game, and they hammered the buckeyes. Shoulda been the Trojans hammering them instead.

USC1988
Member
Noble Member
USC1988(@usc1988)
Offline
November 15, 2022 6:12 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Play calling that game was awful … Booty should had been pulled and Sanchez could had won the game with his legs alone. Like Cowen did for UCLA.

volunteerTrojan
Member
Knighted Member
volunteerTrojan(@volunteertrojan)
Offline
November 15, 2022 9:06 am

Thank you, Mr. Plaschke, for the bulletin board material. Your reverse psychology outs you as a closet Trojans fan.

Golden Trojan
Member
Mt Rushmore
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
Online
November 15, 2022 7:18 am

DTR is better than CW? Caleb has more passing yds/game, more passing TDs and fewer interceptions. DTR is their #2 running back but only has one more rushing TD than CW. DTR has more experience but Caleb has more talent, CW does make some sophomore mistakes. USC is favored by 2. This game could go in any direction. The Arizona games, SC put up 45 on the road, Ruins 28 at home. Utah games, SC put up 43 on the road, Sucla 42 at home. I like the Trojans but I HATE to lose to SUCLA!

Last edited 2 months ago by Golden Trojan
rleeholder1
Member
Knighted Member
rleeholder1(@rleeholder1)
Offline
November 15, 2022 6:42 am

Plaschke is full of himself! I’ve not read such a slanted article from an LA Sportswriter in years. I haven’t lived in LA for 5 years so maybe I’m missing something. To say DTR, a seemingly 7-year starter, is better than Caleb Willliams is total BS. Both are talented in both passing and running the football, but I don’t get where DTR is so much better. He definitely has more experience but not talent. I think both will do well on Saturday and it will be up to turnovers and what teams Defense gets more stops. Losing Travis Dye was… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
Member
Mt Rushmore
TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
Offline
November 15, 2022 6:42 am

Thank you Bill Plaschke! More motivation for my Trojans! I love that the D is called the dregs. How do you think those kids will feel about that! This is probably the best team UCLA will put on the field for the next few years. This is probably the worst team SC will put on the field for the next few years. And, I love it that Bill said DTR is better than Caleb! Wonder what Caleb thinks of that! This is going to be such a great game.

Chris
Member
Mt Rushmore
Chris(@chris)
Offline
November 15, 2022 6:35 am

DTR is better? Sorry, Bill, you lost us all right there.